Employment Law round-up – April 2024

Holiday pay  

New rules on calculating holiday entitlement which gives employers an option to pay rolled-up holiday pay come into force for holiday years starting from 1 April 2024. These changes apply to employees who do not work for the whole year (eg term time only employees) and casual or irregular workers.

Holiday entitlement will accrue at the rate of 12.07% of the hours worked during that pay period. Employers will have the choice to:

  • pay them holiday pay when they take their holiday; or
  • pay them rolled-up holiday pay. This is when an additional supplement is added to the worker’s pay that represents the holiday pay they have earned in that pay period. This is calculated based on 12.07% of pay received for that pay period and should be itemised separately on their payslip. They will still be entitled to take time off as holiday but, when they do, this will be unpaid.

These new changes can be applied from holiday years starting on or after 1 April 2024. If your holiday year runs January to December, then the change is effective for your business from 1 January 2025. 

Paternity leave 

A number of changes came into effect on 8 March and apply to employees whose children are born or adopted on or after 6 April 2024. 

The new regulations mean: 

  • employees can choose to take either a one-week or two-week single period of leave, or two non-consecutive periods of leave of one week each;
  • leave can be taken within 52 weeks of birth; and
  • employees still have to give at least 15 weeks’ notice before the EWC (or if this is not reasonably practical, as soon as possible) of their entitlement to take leave, but they do not have to confirm exact dates until at least 28 days before that period of leave is due to start.

Carers’ leave

As of 6 April, employees will have a new right from day one to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave every 12 months to provide or arrange for care for a dependant with a long-term care need. This leave can be taken in single or half days with a notice requirement of three days or double the length of leave requested, whichever is longer.

Employers can’t refuse leave, but it can be postponed where it is reasonably believed that the operations of the business would be unduly disrupted if the leave were taken at that time. However, the leave would have to be given within one month of the date originally requested and a counter notice served setting out the reason for the postponement and the agreed new date that the leave can be taken. Employers are NOT entitled to ask for proof of why the leave is required. 

Extension of protection during redundancy for those on family leave

Currently employees who are on maternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave should be given priority over other employees in being offered any suitable alternative roles available when their role is being made redundant. However, as of 6 April, these protections will be extended: 

  • Pregnant employees will have this protection from the date they notify their employer of their pregnancy until 18 months after the birth.
  • Employees who have taken adoption leave will be protected for 18 months from the date of placement.
  • Employees taking less than six weeks’ shared parental leave will have the protection during their period of leave. However, employees taking more than six continuous weeks of shared parental leave will be protected for 18 months after the birth.

Flexible working 

From 6 April, the right to request flexible working will become a day-one right for all employees.   Acas has issued a revised statutory code on requests for flexible working, which incorporates these changes. The code is set to come into force on 6 April and, although not legally binding, it will be taken into account by tribunals when determining cases, and therefore employers should implement these changes into their flexible working policies.

Under the new rules, businesses will be required to consult with employees and explore alternative options before rejecting a flexible working request. Applications will need to be determined within two months (including any appeal process).

Employees will also have the right to make two flexible working requests in a 12-month period, as opposed to one. 

Clients of 121 HR Solutions will have their employment handbooks automatically updated to reflect these changes. If you would like to discuss how we can do this for your business, contact us on 0800 9995 121.

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